Friday, August 5, 2011

Modern Bible Translations And An Inerrant Infallible Bible


I have two questions related to John 5:3b & 5:4. 1. If the bible is the inerrant word of God and John 5:3b - 4 are not found in the oldest manuscripts then why are they in most translations but not all? 2. If John 5:3b - 4 are really words of John inspired by God then why do some teach that the "Angel stirring the water is superstition of the day". It seems that would be a stretch to not take this as literal if it is the Word inspired by God.


This quote from the ESV folks is from - "English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pg. 1177
Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible (as found in the second edition of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia), to the United Bible Societies' fourth edition of the Greek New Testament, and to the twenty-seventh edition of Nestle and Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece. In a few exceptionally difficult cases, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac Peshitta, the Latin Vulgate, and other sources were consulted to shed possible light on the text or, if necessary, to support a divergence from the Masoretic text."

The following ESV citation is from

John 5:3-4
English Standard Version (ESV)
3In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and(A) paralyzed.[a]

John 5:3 Some manuscripts insert, wholly or in part, waiting for the moving of the water; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred the water: whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had
Cross references:
John 5:3 : Matt 12:10

As you can see the angel stirring the waters is left out. No claims of superstition. This was not in these transcripts the ESV transcript team choose to use.
The NASB , another dynamic equivalence translation includes the angel.

John 5:3-4
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [[a]waiting for the moving of the waters; 4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.]

John 5:3 Early mss do not contain the remainder of v 3, nor v 4
Some of the historical transcripts contain the part of the angel.
The transcripts footnoted above were older so the ESV did not use the part about the angel stirring the waters. The ESV translator team is a dynamic equivalent translations. The NASB is a dynamic equivalence translation also. They both survey many text sources.

Yes one translation excluded and one included the part of an angel stirring the waters. I have no satisfactory answer on why this was added or appears in later texts. The inclusion of the angel is older to modern Christians yet younger than the older transcripts that do not mention the angel.

The main point is that the inclusion or exclusion of the angel does not alter the gospel message of the power of Christ in this true story.
I have never heard or read from any one that the angel was superstition. Both translation teams used several transcripts and had many people on their translation teams, as have all popular English translations. The older transcripts omit it. The newer contain the angel. The power of Jesus Christ is the story. People like me who strongly stand for the inerrant and infallible Bible understand that we are not saying editing and transmission of biblical transcripts is perfect as done by man. But, these many men have done a great job in preserving the message. The infallibility and inerrant statements refer to the original "autographs" or first editions sent by the Holy Spirit to men. The Holy Spirit worked trough their personality and presented us our full cannon of Scripture. The gospel story is consistent and reliable and trustworthy through our many translations of the ancient text.

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